Douglas Curley is the former editor in chief of Comstock’s magazine.
It was a question they’d asked themselves time and again. Could Placerville support fine dining? Surely, they thought, the market for their envisioned eatery, The Independent Restaurant and Bar, must exist.
In 2008, John Bissell co-founded Micromidas Inc., a West Sacramento biotech company that has developed a process to convert carbohydrate feedstocks like cardboard into higher-value chemicals, including renewable plastics. The company incorporated in 2009. Bissell, a UC Davis grad who also serves as CEO, was recently included in Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” a tally of the brightest stars in 15 different fields, and has helped raise more than $20 million in financing for his company.
The year was 1989. Comstock’s was in its infancy. Hometown boy Phil Angelides was featured in November, standing in the center of the historic Southern Pacific railroad station.
The past two years have been remarkably unpredictable for long-time Sacramento chef Jacob Carriker.
Just as the July 2013 magazine was going to bed, Comstock’s learned that the subject of our cover story, Wijit Inc., had been sold to Kinova USA. Wijit Inc. was the brainchild of Brian Watwood, the one-time elite athlete who was paralyzed in a fateful bike accident.
On July 1, 35-year-old Michael Marion became the executive director and associate vice provost of Drexel University Sacramento. Marion replaces Dr. Sandra Kirschenmann, who will officially retire on Sept. 1.
Great cities are the result of vision and consensus. During more than three decades as a journalist in Sacramento, I have been drawn to subjects with a vision for the region.
As our cover boy in January 2006, Kit Miyamoto discussed the “Miyamoto Way” of doing architectural engineering. Engineering, he said, is logic. It’s black and white. However, he added that logic can be applied creatively in many development disciplines.
We introduced Margaret Wong, president of West Sacramento-based McWong International, to our readership as part of Comstock’s international business special section in February of ‘97.
As part of the Comstock’s-sponsored Vanguard Awards issue in Sept. ‘02, the infamous Gavin and Joe Maloof graced our cover as “Outstanding Corporate Citizens.”
We first introduced readers to Brice Harris in our “New Faces in High Places” section in Dec. of ‘96, when he became chancellor for the Los Rios Community College District. What a ride it’s been.
On May 17, the Rotary Club of Sacramento will mark its centennial of service to the region at a gala celebration at the McClellan Conference Center.
For the past 10 years, Paul Marsh has pledged himself to the pursuit of wine. In Chico, he learned the intricacies of its fruit by planting and harvesting a vineyard. With Kendall Jackson, he learned to sell. At The Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento, he was educated on the finer points of building a wine collection in a hospitality setting, and he became a certified sommelier.
For the new owners of the Sloughhouse Inn, the challenges of running a restaurant began when patrons started walking through the door. Apparently, management wasn’t actually planning on customers showing up.
Janie Desmond Ison, 54, is the 2014 board chair of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. She also has more than 20 years of involvement with the Old Sacramento Business Association.
On Fair Oaks Boulevard, between El Camino Boulevard and Marconi Avenue sits the dormant and barely noticeable Hillside Shopping Center. Or what’s left of it.
John Wheat, 63, was named director of airports for the Sacramento County Airport System in April, 2013.
The woman on the other end of the line, a long-time patron of the now-shuttered La Boheme restaurant, said she wouldn’t be able to dine at Mighty Tavern. Her church didn’t allow its members to go into bars.
Six months ago, Kevin O’Connor hit a wall. He had a good job in a good kitchen, but his body was exhausted and his passion was gone. So, at 24, he decided to step down as the chef of the now-shuttered Blackbird Kitchen & Bar and dig for a new plan.
It’s unusual for Augie Moran and Rob Lopez to have the time to sit for a casual conversation. Each day for the past 25 years, one or the other has been busy prepping the bar for Dawson’s 4 p.m. opening.
Since August 1999, Lial Jones has served as director of the Crocker Art Museum. During her tenure, she has led a capital campaign that successfully raised more than $120 million to finance the Teel Family Pavilion, a 125,000-square-foot addition that opened in October of 2010.
It took a year of arduous twists and turns, but Matt Sin and Krissy White finally got what they wanted. The business partners and co-owners of the just-opened Foundation Restaurant & Bar at Fourth and L streets in downtown Sacramento have an eatery of their own. It’s a sweet relief to be sure, because the story behind it is rather unsavory.
Daniel Keen, 54, was named city manager of Vallejo in March 2012. He has worked for seven California cities over a span of 30 years and has held city manager positions for 18 years.
In California’s post-redevelopment era, landowners, developers and local governments have struggled to make infill projects pencil out. Unlike new suburban developments that offer blank canvases and creative freedom, infill projects are most often shoehorned into existing neighborhoods and commercial developments where community expectations are high and cleanup costs are steep.
Joshua Wood, 31, is the executive director of Region Builders, a commercial-building trade association and coalition. Region Builders is comprised of 13 industry and professional associations representing architects, engineers, contractors, developers and allied firms from the Sacramento area.
A third-generation member of the family business, Allison Otto joined the Otto Construction team as its marketing director in 2000. Three years ago, she was named vice president for business development. Family patriarch John F. Otto launched the Sacramento-based company in 1947. John’s son Carl took over the company in 1971 and served as president until his passing in 2007.
Already embraced by business and city leaders as a catalyst that will ultimately launch a regional renaissance, Sacramento’s long sought and hotly debated entertainment and sports complex is finally taking shape.
As an esteemed authority on wellbeing and relationships, Lisa Oz has spent her career carefully balancing the demands of the corporate world with her devotion to her faith and family.
A little more than six years ago, the El Dorado Community Foundation tapped William Roby to become its new executive director. Roby had been working for the foundation for only a year as its program director, but the board was seeking a fresh personality to lead the organization. Since then, Roby has concentrated on one goal: getting the foundation to a point of fiscal sustainability so it can pay its own way.
Brian King, 49, became chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District in February.
As a child, Michael Hampton often rode his bike down Folsom’s Sutter Street in search of his grandfather, who spent a great deal of time at the Sutter Club bar and other businesses along the historic drive.
“Today, my uncle owns the Sutter Club,” Hampton says. “And because there’s a lot of family history there, I’ve always wanted to have some type of presence on the street, too.” Last year, that vision became a reality.
Steve Ayers makes no bones about his vocal hope that several local contractors will be involved in the highly anticipated design and construction of a sports and entertainment facility in downtown Sacramento. And while he’s known as a humble person whose industry acumen, political clout and philanthropic activities stay largely under the radar, Ayers wants to be a prominent part of the project he believes will launch a downtown renaissance.
James Fitzgerald, 45, became a partner and vice president of Market One Builders Inc. in 1999. The Sacramento-based firm has a well-established reputation as a Northern California leader in the construction of complex, sustainable projects, including mission-critical facilities, landmark urban renovations and commercial office environments. Fitzgerald currently serves as chairman of Associated Builders and Contractors of Northern California and is a member of the Region Builders board of directors.
In October 2012, Michael Strech, 49, was named president and CEO of the North State Building Industry Association. The group is a community-based organization representing more than 400 homebuilder and associate members. From 2003 to 2009, Strech served as the vice president of member services for the California BIA.
Food truck success is leading to brick-and-mortar spin-offs for mobile restaurateurs ready to expand in Sacramento and beyond. For some, a fixed kitchen was always the goal, but for others, the choice to settle down was unexpected, the result of cultivating faithful patrons spreading the good-food word to more and more hungry friends.
In the past 13 years Rick Mahan has not only learned a lot about launching, financing, owning and staffing a business, he has also experienced first hand some of life’s toughest lessons. Today, as the well-respected proprietor of The Waterboy restaurant in midtown and One Speed pizza shop in East Sacramento, he is willing to share those lessons.
Since 2007, Rodney Brown, 65, has served as the president and CEO of the California Bankers Association, which represents the majority of banks doing business in California.
California’s seven family business centers (including two in the Capital Region) are committed to addressing the needs and challenges of family-owned companies.
However, all are registered as 501(c)3 organizations, and as such are precluded from lobbying activities.
John Frisch, 61, is regional managing director for Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank. He is also the immediate past chair of the Sacramento Metro Chamber board of directors.
To this day I lament the closing of the California Café at Arden Fair Mall.
For years I would describe it as “my favorite restaurant that I never go to.” It had a great vibe, comfortable ambience, cool bar, eclectic wine list, intelligent bartender and a seasonal, farm-fresh menu long before that was trendy. I just couldn’t get over the fact that it was located in a shopping center. I take partial blame for its demise nearly a decade ago; I should have frequented it more often.
Robert Chase, 67, is California’s deputy state architect and the current president of the Central Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In addition to his private-sector work in Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Sacramento, Chase has also served as the chief building officer for both the city and county of Sacramento.
I’ve long believed that just about the worst way to begin a workweek is scheduling an in-office staff meeting. Employees start dreading it by mid-day Sunday. The gatherings usually get off to a late start, drag on and are deemed worthless by most participants.
Enter the breakfast meeting.
There is nobody more bullish on the City of West Sacramento than Mayor Chris Cabaldon. He says no city in the region can boast of a better location and, perhaps most importantly, a better water supply. With these two key attributes, the mayor believes the west-bank city is well positioned to attract business, jobs and residents for the foreseeable future.
What Biba Caggiano describes as the “bing, bang, bong noises,” began on Jan. 26, 2007. That’s when the building next door to one of the region’s most established destination restaurants was being demolished. What followed was a three-sided, multi-year Sutter Medical Center construction project that continues to this day.
Nine years ago, Kimio Bazett and UC Davis classmate Jon Modrow opened The Golden Bear, an American restaurant and bar at 24th and K streets in Sacramento. The location came with a beer and wine license, so the two took what they had and ran with it.
In August of last year, it was reported that local eye-care titan VSP would be excluded from competing for individual members in the state’s health insurance exchange market because the vision plan it provides is a stand-alone program. The move lead to conversations that VSP might relocate its headquarters out of state.